It has been estimated that by 2017, the population of the world had taken more than 3.5 trillion photos and the number is rising as we speak. In fact, today, we take more photographs in two minutes than there were in total 150 years ago. As we are adding approximately 1.8 billion digital images to the total every day, it is hardly surprising that an innocent family photo might capture something unexpected from time to time.
It only takes a quick search on the internet to start drowning in images of phantom faces, floating, ghostly figures and demonic eyes staring out at you. Many of these can be explained away pretty easily because digital image manipulation software is readily available and easy to use. There are apps designed purely for you to add a ghost to a photo and others that are resplendent with evil eyes to stare out from beneath your bed.
All of this technology can make it difficult to know what is and what is not real, and by real, we mean, genuinely caught on camera and not necessarily a real ghost, spirit, or other supernatural events. These images, from exhaustive internet searches, have not been digitally enhanced or altered in any way, except for the occasional giant red circle or arrow to point to the spot of action.
15 An Extra Hand At Bathtime
Peaches Geldof had a tragic life and a terribly early death, but there were moments of happiness with her family, as this picture of her and one of her son's showers. When she posted this image to Instagram, it was accompanied by this comment.
“And no that isn’t my hand - one of mine was round his waist to hold him during the photo, the other holding the camera to take the shot.”
When she investigated the history of the home that she and her husband had purchased, she discovered that the building was erected in the 1920s and had been built by a wealthy man for his wife, who was pregnant at the time. Unfortunately, the baby was stillborn, and the wife was overcome with grief and eventually lay down in her bathtub and committed suicide.
14 Only Five Went In
When this photograph was taken at Murphy's Hole in Lockyer river, south-east Queensland, there were two women and three children swimming in the popular spot. However, when the photos were looked at later, a fourth child can be seen in the water, between the two women.
The photograph was taken in 2014, and Kim Davidson posted it to an Austrailian ghost chaser page on Facebook so she could get some feedback. Researchers went to work and discovered that a 13-year-old girl, named Doreen O'Sullivan had drowned in the same spot in 1913. Death notices from the local newspapers were found, and they clearly state that the girl's body had been discovered in Murphys Hole, around an hour after her death.
'At the time of taking this photo there was nothing between us,' Ms. Davison insists.
13 Guardian Angel?
The photographer who shot this particular image is named Debbie, and she says she did not see the strange and ghostly light in the image until after her family had gotten their hands on the pictures. The question many people ask is "Did Debbie and her family really capture a picture of an angel picture while in some Florida woods?" Closely followed, I suspect, by "Why would an angel be hanging about in the Florida backwoods waiting for a family to come along on their ATVs, stop, mess around for a while and leave again?"
When asked about the image, Debbie said "...an angel that we saw when we were out running around in Florida, riding four-wheelers. We were playing around with the cameras...lo and behold, we got something in the picture that was more than we bargained for."
12 That's Handy
Not all unexplainable images involve ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, some of them include hands, or to be entirely accurate, extra or bizarrely placed hands, the likes of which you only usually see on a poorly photoshopped cover of Vanity Fair.
This is a prime example of what looks like a typical family picture until you look more closely, in the conveniently ringed close-up and see those strangely placed digits. We have scoured the net, spent countless hours thinking to ourselves and even asked the cat, but none of us can quite figure out who those two hands belong to and how they are in that position.
Yes, it could just be the chap in the middle with his hand behind his back and the hand of the guy on the right, but that still doesn't explain how they are in such bendy positions.
11 Back Seat Driver
The majority of families probably have a photo or two of a parent or a teen standing in the driveway, pleased as punch and showing off their four-wheeled pride and joy. In the days before vehicle engines were repaired by plugging them into a laptop to discover what was wrong, people would disassemble their cars themselves and fix them without the aid of any electronic hand-holding.
It looks like this proud car owner is showing off his V dub engine rebuild while someone else looks on from the back seat of the vehicle behind. Not sure why there might be a ghost lurking in the rear of a newer car in front of the garage. Perhaps he is an ex-mechanic overseeing the rebuild of the Beetle from the afterlife.
10 An Uninvited Guest
Anybody who has had to organize a wedding will know full well that the guest list debate seems to go forever. You try to decide how many people to invite then one of you has more guests than the other, so you add some cousins, then you are over numbers, so you start cutting people. Then you realize you were actually looking forward to seeing long-lost auntie Doris again, so she's back on the list, but that will upset cousin Denise because the two of them don't speak, it goes on forever.
For this reason, you always know precisely who you invited, and this bride at a wedding on a historic farm in Denmark most certainly did not ask for an RSVP from any partially formed black robed dudes whose body ended at the waist. The official photographer did not capture the figure and the only ones to notice it at the time were the kids who you can quite clearly see staring at it.
9 Granny's Got You
Personally, I have far too many photographs of our kids sitting down on an armchair or sofa corner. It is a pose all parents try out as soon as their little one is strong enough to sit up vaguely. We plonk them down, and one person hovers just out of shot while the second takes the picture. What you may have noticed about this one though is the not so subtle human-shaped shadow that appears to be sitting in the chair with the little one.
The boy in the photo was born a few weeks after the death of his grandfather. When his mom took him on a visit to her widowed mother some months later, the little fella climbed up into this, his grandfather's favorite chair.
Finding it super cute, his mom snapped a picture but did not notice the extra person until afterward. Is this a trick of the light or is it a loving grandpa coming back from the dead to meet the grandchild he never got the chance to meet in life?
8 Mom's Secret
This photo first appeared in 2016 on a website called Paranormal 360. The person who posted the image was a woman named Szigeti Gyöngyi, from Hungary and she claimed to have found the picture among her recently deceased mother's belongings.
The photograph was taken by Gyöngyi’s father in 1943, and it is her mother who is standing against a signpost and smiling into the camera. In the background of the photo is what appears to be a girl with no face and no arms.
There was no further information about the image posted, and research has shown that this style of frame and size of a photo was common in Hungary in the 1940s. Other than that it is unknown if this was a mysterious appearance or whether there was a feasible explanation for what appears to be a faceless ghost.
7 Still Defending
This moment in time was caught by a tourist who was visiting Devil’s Den in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. More than 10,000 men lost their lives at Gettysburg in a jaw-dropping three days, and as a result, the battle-ground is considered one of the most haunted places in the United States.
The woman who took this particular snap swears that there was nobody there when she pressed the shutter. The uncropped version shows a large group of people on the left od the frame, all of whom are dressed in regular, modern-day clothing. There were no reenactments going on at the time and no staff personnel or actors in the vicinity either.
Not only is it fairly common to see such strange things, especially in Devil's Den, but it is not uncommon to hear things either. From the subdued, vague chatter of soldiers at night to screams of "Charge!" and painful death cries.
6 Trick Of The Light Or...
This trio of young ladies was out for an evening of fun and enjoyment. They took it in turns to be the cameraperson, swapping back and forth, producing plenty of pictures, all of them different combinations of pairs in different locations.
It was not until later when they viewed their images, did they see this creepy fourth person gripping the arm of one of the friends. Usually, these photos are the result of trying to use the timer and being caught mid-sprint into the frame. However, not only did these three not try using a timer, they didn't have a tripod or other suitable surface to hold the camera if they wanted to.
Add to this the fact that the strange blur clearly has a very muscular set of shoulders and you are left with a mystery.
5 Who's Out There?
This image is from the 1970s and was taken by the subjects slightly older sister. She had been given a camera and was playing at being a photographer, getting her younger sibling to pose in different places around their home.
The photographer tells the story many years later:
"..there's someone on the porch...and that person wasn't there when I took the picture...and they aren't casting any shadow. My mother showed this to our photographer neighbor at the time, who was completely dumbfounded by the photo - because before we moved into this house, the old woman who had lived there passed away in it. Every day, when her husband went to work or ran errands, she would diligently wait for him on the porch, right where this figure is standing. In all my years looking at photos, maybe half a dozen have impressed me...this is one of them. I'm so glad we finally found it."
4 Floating In The Dark
My first thought when I saw this photo was that it had to be fake. The very fact that someone was wandering around in a graveyard at night, taking photographs is just trying to set up a scenario where they can "discover" a ghost in the image.
When I looked into it further, I discovered the exact opposite was true. This shot was taken by a family of skeptics who had set out to prove that there is no such thing as the paranormal and that any strange shapes or shadows they captured were purely coincidental and had a logical explanation.
Unfortunately for their purposes, they found this on one of their pics. All who were there claim to have seen nothing and analysis of the picture shows it to be unaltered. No explanation can be found for the shape captured.
3 I See You
As we approach the end of the list, we thought there was a place for an unexplained photo that would be guaranteed to keep you awake tonight.
This seemingly innocuous shot of a families living room appears, at first glance, to show nothing more questionable that some slightly suspect taste in lighting and lighting accessories.
After you have stared at it for long enough, you might want to draw your eyes down to the bottom left-hand corner of the photo. Do you see it now? Peeking out at you from behind the cushion?
There. Now you have caught sight of the terrifying friend behind the soft furnishings, dismiss it as a fake created with some kind of photo editing software. You can believe that right up until tonight when you turn the light off, and your mind starts to wonder in the dark. Then it will become real.
2 All Hands On Deck
The owner of this image was excited to find what had become an almost legendary family photo that everyone had thought to be lost. The shot was said to be taken in a linen mill in the north of England at sometime around the turn of the last century.
“Great to see an old photo of my Granny, in the by-gone year’s photo, when she worked at the mill. She was Ellen Donnelly (nee McKillop), and she is fourth on the right in the second row down. My dad has this photo at home, a family ghost picture!!”
In case you cannot see what all of the fuss is about, the woman in question has a hand resting on her shoulder. Unfortunately, the hand does not appear to belong to anyone.
1 That's Me
To round off this edition of "What the heck is that?" here is a fun time travel, parallel universe type mystery for you. This photo was taken outside of the home of a man named Harry Ross. It shows him on the right, his son Andrew on the left and two of his granddaughters.
Ross, 64 is a great-grandfather and was shocked to see what appeared to be a person looking out from this window. There was no question in his mind who it was, and he told a reporter: “I immediately thought, ‘That’s me.’ I recognized the jacket and the rest of the outfit from my wedding day when I was 22. The family agrees that it is definitely me, but some think it’s me as a very old man. It was really freaky. I almost fell over with fright.”
Sources: theatlantic.com, wired.com, kpcb.com, deepspeedmedia.com, angelsghosts.com, dailymail.co.uk, irishmirror.ie, paranormal360.co.uk, anomalyinfo.com, ghostsnghouls.com